The Ohio State women’s volleyball team (10-4, 1-1) clinched its first Big Ten win of the season, winning in four sets against No. 4 Penn State (9-3, 0-2).
The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions endured tireless rallies throughout the match, including a continuous series at the end of the third set which led to a 33-31 Buckeye win.
Head coach Geoff Carlston said these rallies were the defining moments in the outcome of the match.
“For this group to show the swag, the poise and to make plays when we needed to in those moments was the difference tonight,” Carlston said. “We played really well and made smart choices in those longer, defining, cross-road type of points. I’m really proud of this group”
After losing the first set 25-16, the Buckeyes bounced back to win three continuous sets, none of which were won without a fight.
Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Jordan Fry was a key player in today’s game, leading the team with seven blocks, and crushed 11 kills, second to freshman outside hitter Mia Grunze who led the team with 12.
“In big rallies it’s just really important to focus on my game and little things that I can work on,” Fry said. “Specifically transitioning off the net or calling my sets really loud to hold the block for my other hitters. When it gets kind of crazy i just try to focus on the techniques so I don’t have time to worry about ‘Oh I might hit this out or this is a long rally I’m going to get tired.’”
Penn State redshirt senior outside hitter Taylor Leath posed a constant threat to the Buckeyes throughout the match as she scored the most kills of both teams (16) and was also an overall leader with assists and digs.
Ohio State sophomore setter Becca Mauer closed out two sets with a series of tough serves to end the second match, and a huge block to win in the fourth set to score the overall victory.
Coming off of three losses in a row, Carlston said the Buckeyes are glad to be back in their own territory for the first time since their season opener.
“In the Big Ten it’s really hard to win on the road,” Carlston said. “We showed a lot of poise, a lot of heart and a lot of grit. Any time you can beat any team in the Big Ten it’s a great one, but certainly Penn State is a great win for us right now.”
Fry agreed with Carlston about the importance of the victory.
“I think this win gives our girls a lot of confidence that we can compete with anyone,” Fry said. “We might have some ups and downs but as long as we bring our game, people better watch out.”
Ohio State will have Monday off before their next match against Indiana at St. John Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m.